/ If you could have only three.....
They don't have to necessarily be the best routes you've done, but the ones which mean the most to you for whatever reason.
It's a hard one, but for me, I'd have to choose:-
Great Wall, Cloggy - a perfect 'atmospheric' (in other words overcast and cloudy) mid-week Cloggy day, when there was only one other rope on the cliff, a route I'd always wanted to lead, climbed well and in one pitch, and with a dear friend.
Nerve Wrack Point, Tuolumne - simply a perfect day, on a perfect route, on perfect rock, in a perfect setting, with the perfect partner.
Walker Spur - My first big alpine North Face, climbed with that wonderful mixture of apprehension and excitement, and including the most perfect bivi I've ever experienced, and climbed with two of the best partners I could ever wish for - felt like I'd finally earned the right to wear Galibier Super Pro's :-)
Hmmmm nice question Goucho . I think for me at the moment three that are stuck in my mind for different reasons are the following ;
1) La estación de la bruia at Sella as it was my last climb of a great 8 days on the Blanca and it was only 6 months after a major op on my shoulder . It felt like proper climbing after a week of confidence building , it was so good I did it twice . It was my first 6c in a couple of years .
2) Has to be the last trad route I did in November last year , Ledgend Direct at Boulder Ruckle , Swanage just enough exposure to give me that f**k me I could die sensation but a really enjoyable route with nice views and a very patient buddy who helped keep it relaxed & fun . ( Cheers Jon )
3) Crack my bitch up at Blacknor South , Portland ,Dorset . My buddy bit off a bit more than we could chew after a long hard days bolt clipping . It was there winking at us saying come on boys ! My buddy had the fear up at the finish , it was getting cold and dark & we had to get those quick draws back down . Not so much fun at the time but very memorable indeed .
And yes it must be said I have a lot more climbing to do yet .....
The Steck Salathe, Sentinel Rock, Yosemite Valley - when it comes to classic crack climbing it just doesn't get any better, longer or more strenuous.
The American Direct, Petite Dru, Chamonix - still a world classic climb. It has some of the best pitches of climbing I've yet come across.
Right Wall, Dinas Cromlech, Snowdonia - there had to be a UK route and it was never going to be anything else.
I'd have liked to have Squareface on my list but never got round to doing it and it's not likely to happen.
1. Traverse of Mittaghorn and Egginer in the Saas valley, off route epic on some crazy choss, scary abseils off ridiculous anchors, but escaped unscathed.
2. Right Angle on gurnard's head, exposure, sunshine and a soaking from a freak wave.
3. Benny at Swanage, the perfect end to a scorching autumn day.
Honourable mentions to Golden Slipper, Stone Cold Fever and Kirkus Route in Cwm Silyn in a torrential downpour.
Kipling Groove - One of my first times climbing in the mountains, skipping across the traverse with the exposure pretty much blowing my mind.
Dry Rot, Stanage - One night soloing when everything was working nicely, I thought I'd have a pop at this onsight, as I knew I wouldn't fall off (I didn't). More for the night and what was going on at the time than the route itself (of course).
Flytrap - To remind myself that climbing is not always fun, but it can take you to places that only a few people ever see.
Comes the Dervish - I'd wanted to do it since the first time I'd seen it, it was a big lead for me at the time, it came at the end of a brilliant 2 weekends slate climbing and it was as good as I'd hoped it would be.
Vestpillaren - just a perfect day. Good weather, good mates and I loved that there were three crux pitches so the three of us could each lead one.
Red Wall - this is a bit of a random one. My usual partner climbs harder than me and it means that I often feel like I have a plan b if I can't do something (much to his annoyance as he hates being my rope gun). That day I was climbing with him but he was feeling really dizzy and had backed off the first pitch and suggested escaping. Instead of bottling it I led the whole thing, running pitches 2 & 3 together, and just flowed up the route, with no stress about the gear or rock or 'what if I can't do the next moves?'. It was great and made me think about how much of my usual faffing is a luxury, and how much better I climb when backing off isn't a choice.
Rainbow Jambaia (a.k.a. Angel Falls)
Naked Edge - Eldorado
Horizontal Pleasures - Pembroke
Very, very tough decisions. The difficulty with most UK candidates is that any one route doesn't feel enough and I'm wanting to keep the memory of the whole crag rather than just one bit of it.
The Old Man of Hoy
Good question but only 3?
Zodiac - A total bonus after the best two weeks of my life. Done quickly too in great conditions with the full bigwall experience - tequila, the lot.
Right wall - took me nearly 20 years to psyche for it.
Solstace, Gordale - Not the most classic route in the world but one of my mates routes with a reputation for shit gear. One of my first proper E5's done the same weekend as my mate did Supercool when I'd been belaying him for 4 weeks on it - beers were drunk that night I can tell you.
Tough but ....
The Bat had everything.History,spring snowfields,a good mate,intimidation factor.
Golden Slipper. Followed my wife up this.I was nervous for her as I remembered the gear being poor when I first did it 35 years ago!It was lovely to see her climb with such obvious joy.
Evening Wings,Sron na Ciche Boulders. The mojo came back after a difficult time of life.
Could well be a different three tomorrow!
Crest Jewel, Yosemite - Slab perfection away from the beaten track with a great partner who didn't go as well on slabs as me so I got all the best pitches.
White Slab on Cloggy - The best mid grade route on the best crag on a perfect warm summers day with best mate/climbing partner.
First Slip, Tremadoc - Not because it's the best route ever (though it's very good) but because it reminds me of that first season flush of wild enthusiasm way back when I was 22. I think it was my second E1, I fell off it then went right back and cranked that tough groove.
Orion Face Direct - Great route, great adventure, wanted to do it for five years, (and was probably capable of doing it for three of these!) and it still exceeded all expectatons
Old Man of Hoy - Again, great adventure, added to by the whole journey thing
Side Show, (with top pitch,) at Hodge Close - most of which is now in the pool - My first E2, and I think the first route I really had to have a talk with myself and keep plowing on as the alternative was not good.
Greater Cullin Traverse in a day - shows me what I can achieve when I train and put my mind to it!
I know that's four - you can choose which one to ditch, I won't remember it in any case!
The Innominata Ridge, my first time to the summit of Mont Blanc, and felt like the perfect culmination of experience gained in the Alps. It was a very emotional few days, shared with my best friend and climbing partner.
A day at Baggy Point with my girlfriend sticks in my mind, no particular routes, but we had a fantastic day overall.
Diamond Sky at Haytor always sticks in mind; having fallen off completely unexpectedly I was surprised to find that the micros had held and I was completely unharmed - it was a turning point where I realised that harder climbs don't necessarily mean more dangerous climbs.
Only three is very difficult!
Wen @ Gogarth. Things went wrong, I got scared, I dropped gear in the sea. I got a lot better - fast.
Amptrax @ El Chorro. Big fun! Getting checked out by the vultures on the way up. Topping out was amazing, and the 3hr walk down through the brush was entertaining.
Ocean wall @ Standing stones. Probably the most effort I've put into an onsight, really wanted it :)
Theres a few others that narrowly missed out...
Tough, tough call!
Half Dome NW Face in a day - memories of being young and fit.
Shibboleth with the True Finish best route in yhe UK?
Vestpillaren a couple of years ago - life in the old dog yet!
Mt Kenya MacKinder's route - fit as a fiddle and flying. Good tactics, iffy weather, excellent result.
Hadrians Wall - brilliant and atrocious conditions in one, blue sky day and shockingly ill-equipped. Brilliant day out.
Old Man of Hoy - all round superb trip, with a few quirks to enliven the whole thing.
Great question. Two of my three are on the Ben:
1: Ledge Route- my first "proper" winter route. Climbed it in perfect conditions with a cloud inversion. We had the Ben to ourselves as the day was pish in Fort William. On the crest a tornado flew past and dipped its wings at us.
2: Glovers chimney. We had a bit of an epic, it was our second route of the day and then we were slow with deteriorating weather. Darkness fell and I discovered my headtorch batts were flat. It was blowing a hoolie in Tower gap. It was terrifying, deciding whether to ab off or continue, (We pressed on) but strangely with the benefit of time it has become one of my most best mountain experiences ever.
3: Armorican, Pembrokeshire. Not my lead, (I'm a plodder), but a magic route nonetheless with warm sun-kissed rock, steepness, perfect little holds and a calm sea. The night after we climbed it I actually dreamed we went back and I led it. I remember every hold. I would still like to but I've moved to Scotland doh.
> Very, very tough decisions. The difficulty with most UK candidates is that any one route doesn't feel enough and I'm wanting to keep the memory of the whole crag rather than just one bit of it.
True. And very hard not to make all three alpine routes. But for balance:
Steeple, the best route in the world, the first time in 7 I've done it, at my limit, in '83.
Eagle Ridge, under desperate deep powder in '88
Eiger '39 Route, epic in '89.
Mont Blanc, solo. Young and immortal.
The Grepon Traverse. The third attempt.
The Nose, El Cap. 30-year long dream come true.
Like Pasbury that wild determination of my first XS lead, Cemetery Gates 1966 with a hemp string waistband, small slings and a newfangled thing called a spud. Fell off retreating from the crux, spud useless and held on abseil tat I put over a block that has since come out. Climbed back up and finished the route
Number two I suppose is a cheat, but it was the continuity of a two weeks action in the Alps 1974 on 5 superb routes: Couturier Couloir (Verte), Gervasutti Coulor (Tacul), Route Major on Mont Blanc, North ridge of Dent Blanche (no bivvy hut at they col in those days), North Face of the Dru. If it has to be one, you choose.
Number three Old Man of Stoer at 75 leaving Aberdeen in the morning with a good and loyal friend who has has pushed me to the limit in a long weekend 's climbing in Scotland every year for the past 30.
Good thread. Tough question. Good answers.
The Orion Direct - With a good mate. Both of us 17 perfect conditions. It all went perfectly. We were so psyched on the summit, that we ran up Tower Ridge in the afternoon.
The Cassin Ridge. We stripped everything down to the minimum and climbed the thing over two days. The climbing isn't technical but the endless wading through powder at 6000m was exhausting. Sitting on the summit of North America's highest mountain, utterly spent was very special.
Vector. One of the best of the all the utterly brilliant *** classics I did during my first year living in North Wales. That top groove is brilliant and I met my lovely girl friend at the bottom of it the first time I climbed it.
Vestpillaren, Presten - for all the reasons climbingpixie mentions above (plus it was my first E2).
Satan's Slip, Lundy - because I'd once told a friend to shoot me if I ever went anywhere near it (before I found out I could climb slabs). And because it's totally ace and required a certain intensity of focus that I don't usually achieve.
Picking a third one is nearly impossible though, Birdland at Red Rocks for the sublime top pitch, The File for the perfect jams, The Old Man of Hoy for the journey, Kneewrecker Chimney in the Churnet (I bet you nobody else picks that!) for the will required to succeed, American Beauty on Lundy for the commitment (with the original approach, so cut off by the tide and no ab rope to prusik up), Greay Panther at Kilt Rock for being my first Extreme Rock tick (and unspeakably ace), Formula One on Lundy for being totally brilliant and now unrepeatable...
I'll go for Burn Up at Fairhead though. For being a bridging corner (I love bridging corners) and for the unbeatable 'throne' stance, on a glorious day, with the crag to ourselves and stunning views over to Scotland all whilst perched on a perfectly bum-sized ledge in the middle of a huge crag
That's what I thought though :o
Comes the Dervish - Drove up on a whim on a single day and night visit from London to see a much-missed friend and pulled this out of the bag. Seemed like half of Llanberis chipped in to variously lend me a bed, get me drunk, lend me gear, belay me etc. Still probably my hardest climb to date.
Jack the Ripper, Stac Pollaidh - On a very wild day and the prelude to two weeks climbing in the north west - my favourite place on Earth, with a really good mate.
Fiddler's Nose Direct - With another good mate. Madcap early spring weekend mission from Cornwall to the north west. Had a bit of an epic etc, brutally cold and tiring. Great fun, legends in our own lunchtime ;)
So hard to pick only three.
Id have to include traversing the Lenzspitze, I havent done any alpine stuff for ages now but that was brilliant, a long, tough challenge in an amazing place. That sort of thing was why I originally got into climbing.
Foil/Left Wall. Im not going to choose between them as theyre right next to each other :)
Both were routes I had been inspired to do for years, both were close to my limit at the time, were amazing, and I pulled them off ok.
Probably Central Buttress on Scafell. I just remember sitting on the ledge after the crux pitch in a sort of warm, dry mist with noone else in sight or sound (apart from my climbing partner and a lost lamb). Amazing experience.
Forgotten Chimney, Ancient Art, Utah. Crazy rock with crazy exposure and climbing harder than I probably should have. Only just made it out of the maze in the dark as we forgot torches.
The Cuillin Ridge. Saved Moffs life after a slip before we even got to the start. The perfect mountaineering day with all the hard bits (climbing and nav) onsight and with both of us carrying injuries. Also the multi-low grade grit route training, we had to do as we couldnt run, led to the formation of our Offwidth site.
Solar Slab, Red Rocks Nevada. Onsight and exploratory having left the topo in the bag at the bottom of Solar Gully. Cruised the magnificent climb but not the descent after taking the wrong gully system. Still glowing when we got back to the car at midnight.
All three with Moff my perfect climbing partner.
Centurion, my first big mountain HVS and I lead it all. No-one else on the crag, on a Saturday! (but it was 1982).
Steeple, as I did it with a total stranger who is now one of my best friends. Finished it in heavy rain and off in the dark with only one headtorch. A fantastic mountain day.
The Message, as the last route I did with another best friend before we lost him.
Conjunctis Viribus at Agden, my first really good new route.
White Ghyll Eliminate, my only really good Lakes contribution
and either North West Passage or Aardvark at Gogarth, both big teams of great mates who wouldn't let me come back when I thought the going was getting tough.
I'll make the novice contributions then!
Ledge climb - Bosigran. My partner had a lack of courage that day so I lead all 3 pitches. Felt like a proper adventure and great views to match.
The vice - houndtor. The first climb that scared me, one move about a whole foot above gear, but the first time I'd done this on a hard move (hand jam). So I got the wobblies on that one.
Step across - haytor. Once I started getting confident outdoors had a crack at this one, and just found it to be a really satisfying route. The step across move is very airy, but the holds are so good that there's no fear.
Hoping to replace all these climbs with new ones once it warms up, already planning days to the Dewerstone and Roche Rock
Good thread and too tough to keep to 3.
Mousetrap at the Dubh loch. A beautiful day as part of a great weekend at the bothy with a good mate.
Robin Hood's Right Hand Buttress at Stanage. My first lead.
Cathedral Peak, Tuolumne - brilliant day out and to remember Stu by.
Pic Longe, Vignemale by the N Face route. A big alpine day out.
Oh, and Squareface, Integrity, La Demande, Bishop's Rib, Funfngerspitze...
The Appian Way, Pillar - ever since I saw a photo in Rock Climbing in Britain of a tiny climber looking like a fly on an apparently vertical expanse of rock, I wanted to do this. When I was leading that pitch all I could think was "I'm the climber in the picture".
Napes Needle. For the history.
Satan's Slip. For the fun, the sun, and the seals.
Good though it is, by the rules of the thread it has already been erased from your memory - you'll just have to go FA it again then!
...but will that mean one of your original 3 selections is erased?
Must try and get there this year, looks awesome.
No1, Risky business, pine creek red rocks. Brilliant face climbing with just enough protection.
No2, The tool, boulder ruckle Swanage. Fantastic 2nd pitch.
No3, Silly arete, Tremadog.
Could easily swap 2 and 3 around.
Can I have some more?
Being a bit of a punter I'll drag this down a level. Plus I quite like enjoying climbs, which sometimes means climbing within myself and the routes I don't want to forget are more like desert lsland climbs. Having said that, there are some experiences on routes I don't want to forget. So.....
I think I would have to put Christmas Curry/Mich Eliminate at Tremadog on the list. One of the most enjoyable easy routes on my favourite crag. Perfect rock and continually interesting. A desert island climb for me.
A route in the category of memorable experiences is one I did with my best mate at a time when we were exploring long rock routes in the alps and it came close to being an epic adventure due to conditions and inexperience with circa 20 pitch routes starting with half a dozen up a (wet) chimney. I give you the original start to the Direct on the Mirroir d'Argentine.
I'm struggling to choose a final one but I'm drawn towards Aphasia at Sergeant Crag Slabs in the Lakes. An intense sustained 45m lead on perfect rock. One of those routes I simply had to climb and it wasn't a let down.
I,ve changed my mind.
Swapping one of my slab routes for Seth/lazy Sunday afternoon combination, Fall bay Gower.
I want Ocean wall, Standing stones in there as well.
Goucho, if you do this again, let us hav 5.
Same angle but the pic I mean was taken years ago. Its an old book. But yes, that pitch in that situation. Simply stunning and so unlikely for the grade.
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